Production Day 18 – Final Day

On Day 18, we found ourselves at the last day of shooting the film Other Versions of You. There we were, staring at the end, wondering what was next.

The day started with a lunch meeting with the producers. We spoke of so many things:

  • How production has gone up to this final day of shooting. The good. The bad. What we learned. What we will do different next time. What we did well and how we will make sure to do it even better in the future. How fantastic our cast and crew have been.
  • The future of the film. Post production workflow. Who is going to do what and how that looks for all of us. Songs. Distribution. Film festivals.
  • Our hopes and dreams.
  • Tater tots.
  • The final day of shooting.
  • The wrap party.

And after this meeting, we were on set, preparing for the final day of shooting a film I have been working on for over 5 years.

Let me stop here for a moment.

Way back in August of 2011, I wrote a novel called “Stapled to the Fabric of the Universe.” Six or so months after completing the novel, I started converting it into a screenplay. This is the first time I have converted a long form story (like a novel) into a condensed version of the same story. It was incredibly challenging. There are so many moments in the novel I didn’t want to lose, but for the sake of pacing and the overall story, those moments had to go away. I had several people speak into the story in various stages of writing. So many people have touched this idea and helped shape it.

And there we were, preparing to shoot the final day of the film. Three of our four main actors were there to perform the final scene they would (hopefully – reshoots are always a possibility, but we all hope we captured everything) ever perform for Other Versions of You. And it was a tough, long scene. In the history of film, I’m sure it doesn’t even come within 900000 miles of other tough scenes, but it was an important scene in the film that required some choreography and emotion and many (many) camera angles.

This scene was the only thing we would be filming, and we knew it was going to be a challenge to even get it done in the time given to us by the universe and production. And guess what? It ended up being one of our toughest days. The performances had to be spot on or the scene wouldn’t sell the idea of the film, ultimately.

We got behind. Everyone wanted it as close to perfect as possible, and when we weren’t getting parts of it, we had to regroup. We ended up changing some things. Several, actually. There were moments where I thought there was no way we were going to get anything even close to what I knew we had to have.

And then something magical happened. Here’s the odd thing – I can’t even tell you what it was. I have no idea. We were all spitballing on a problem we were having with the scene and some actions the actors would do (and of course all of this affected every facet of the production), and suddenly there was a solution. A good one, even. Maybe great. And this solution happened because we all cared so much and everyone was listening to one another.

It was one of the only times we went into overtime for the actors the entire shoot, but it was absolutely worth it. The actors were spent. I could see them all giving everything they could to make this powerful scene remain powerful after so many takes and set ups. But we got it. And there’s no way this would have happened had everyone not set aside their pride and ideas (myself included) and work together as a team.

I’m not done writing. Even though we’ve wrapped production, I will do my best to periodically pop in and talk about post production and our journey to finding distribution.

I want to say this: treat people with respect and love. It gets you so far. So so far. Because then people will usually treat you the same, and isn’t that what we all want? Our team was fantastic because they did this. And without respect and love, this filming experience would have been very, very tough. Instead, it was one of the best places to spend 18+ days, coming together to create as a team. Surround yourself with good people. Talent is incredible, but without love and respect, the process can become miserable.

This process has been, is, and will continue to be magical because of people.

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